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Messages - Ben Reed

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Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui
« on: July 20, 2016, 01:00:43 PM »
It should also be mentioned, even though a lot of ppl may disagree with me on this one: Mai's little Rush autocombo is actually WORTH USING for her. For a combo heavy character like Kyo or Iori, yeah ok you gain absolutely nothing from the little auto combos that you cannot instantly do better on.

I disagree with this, actually. I tried Mai's Rush combo in the lab and unlike KoD's surprisingly good one (IDK why it's plus on block but KOD kinda needs whatever he can get), Mai's has nothing to really recommend for it. The 2nd and 3rd hits are both unsafe on block, and IMO the meterless route to low-height Musasabi no Mai isn't worth it. Remember that one of the goals of a hit-confirm is not just to give you time to recognize that you're hitting the opponent, but also to be safe on block. Mai's Rush Combo doesn't satisfy the 2nd condition because unless you have 0 meter for Musasabi no Mai, there's no way to be safe without stopping at close A (which you really should).

Also, no offense to the SNK devs (they really ARE doing a bang-up job with this game), but just because they INTEND for something to be used doesn't guarantee that it IS useful. Some Rush combos like KoD's are surprisingly useful, but I tested Mai's to look for hidden gold and I'm pretty sure there is none. You're much better off doing c.B > c.A > qcb+C, or even c.B > close B,D > hcf+D (target combo is unsafe, but you can stop at close B, which is safe and still cancellable).

If you want "quick and dirty" damage with Mai, all you really gotta do is stock 1 bar for MAX cancels. Mai's midscreen meterless combos are admittedly ho-hum, but she has much better corner options (s.CD wallstick, qcb+A resets). But a simple MAX-Cancel combo with Mai to qcb+AC > hcf+BD does tons of corner carry and very decent damage.

Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui
« on: July 20, 2016, 05:28:27 AM »
Tested some stuff with her tonight and she gets stupider (in a good way) with every minute I spend in the lab.

Ukihane (j.d+B) inflicts RIDICULOUS blockstun; I kept trying to get blocked by the dummy in a really unsafe way and with 1-guard jump + standing block in a Mai mirror I was unable to observe any situation where Mai was worse than neutral on block. NEUTRAL! If this move does not flat-out miss the opponent it's 100% safe AFAIK. Hop, full jump, late, early, doesn't even matter. Go nuts with this move if you think it won't miss or get DP'ed/supered. NerdJosh's instincts were right on target.

Mai recovers fast enough from uncancelled corner s.CD to link c.C afterwards. So you don't need to rely on linking from an A Kacho Sen, which is good, because if you're too close when you CD, the fan will miss. And of course raw CD is still plus as hell on block, so there's no consequence except guard cancels and invincible moves for going nuts with it.

Tigerknee Musasabi no Mai is also actually safe to plus on block if you're blocked (stand blocked) any later than the top of the opponent's head (riskier against tall characters, probably). TK right in their face is slightly plus on block, but of course that cries out "please hit me out of the startup". So an occasional shenanigan, no chance of Mai turning into 13 Yuri on the divekick front.

EX charge walldive has projectile invul on startup. Dunno yet if it lasts all the way to the wall since most of the fireball moves in this game are low to the ground. Where's King air Venom Strike when you need it? (RIP)

hcf+K 2nd hit is actually plus on block on crouch guard. Like, significantly so. But that doesn't matter cause all you need to do to avoid that situation is stand up while blocking the 1st hit and then she's -9,999 like you'd expect.

Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui
« on: July 19, 2016, 06:22:53 PM »
Mai seems really strong in this game. I'm not ready to declare her top tier yet, but characters like Kyo, Iori, and Shun'ei will definitely have to respect her. She gains huge advantages from universal system changes and a few key character-specific buffs. This is how I read her strengths/weaknesses right now, feel free to offer your own take on her:


  • Great all-purpose normals -- jump-ins, anti-air, air-to-air, pokes, Mai has everything she needs for offense and defense.
  • Great projectile (A Kacho Sen) that complements her very strong anti-air game. Jumping vs Mai is dangerous, but that fan makes even the best of us really tempted to jump...
  • Amazing s.CD -- massive corner wallstick potential or just easy, safe initiative from doing s.CD > A Kacho Sen.
  • Vastly improved wakeup/anti-air game via Kagero no Mai. An excellent and efficient anti-air versus jump-ins of all kinds, plus she can juggle after it if it trades (it rarely ever loses without being outright baited).
  • Superb Climax Art. Justifies its high resource cost by the huge number of neutral mistakes it can punish without requiring godlike reaction time. If Mai can stock 3 bars, she locks off so many neutral options to her opponent with just the threat of this move. Anchor Mai is legitimate now.
  • Great MAX mode utility. EX Kacho Sen in particular is a big case for popping raw MAX mode with Mai due to the number of mixups or at least approaches it protects for only 1 bar.


  • Still no meterless reversal -- much less of a limitation than it used to be, given her other strengths.
  • No ground overhead for MAX cancels. Not a big deal at all given her zoning power.
  • Can't combo to hcf+B/D on crouching opponents -- usually not a big deal since she has ample hit-confirm tools to check for crouching before she commits. And for 1 bar she can just do a MAX cancel combo to EX Ryuu Enbu and ignore the issue altogether.
  • Um...Iori's still in the game? That's all I got, really.

General Discussion / Re: KOFXIV Announced for 2016
« on: May 22, 2016, 05:38:04 AM »
Tons of useful info from the Stunfest stream, where Frionel & co solicited & answered questions in English.

They confirmed alternate guard is gone. You also can't CD counter or guard cancel roll while blocking low, but I dunno whether that's a feature or just a bug in this build.

They re-confirmed the 1-anywhere-juggle limit in combos. Lots of character-specific info too; I'm gonna have to watch the archives again just to write down all the stuff they confirmed. At this rate I'm gonna have a pretty short laundry list of stuff to test at CEO...

Archives / Re: CEO Winterfest Orlando, FL January 21st 2012
« on: January 22, 2012, 05:12:30 AM »
Thanks a bunch to everybody who made it out for KOF 13 at Winterfest. We had 17-18 pre-registered and ended up having 31 people actually play. These are _very_ impressive numbers for a game in its infancy in Florida/Orlando, and I cannot thank enough all the people who came out to rep KOF. If these numbers and the solid play that accompanied them continue, this game is going places in this state.

Unfortunately due to unexpected time constraints with the venue, we were not able to play out grand finals. Loser's finals finished successfully, and the top 2 split the pot by mutual agreement. Full results to come within a few days. Here are the top 3:

Tied for 1st and 2nd: Casanova (K`/Maxima/Clark/Shen) and DarkHonor (Kyo/Terry/Ash)
3rd place: D'Nyce (Kyo/K`/Shen (?) )

Archives / Re: FINAL ROUND XV March 2-4, 2012 Atlanta, Ga.
« on: January 12, 2012, 11:53:13 PM »
People in Orlando are still getting their FR plans sorted out, but this game has really taken off down here. Should be at least 3-4 solid players coming to Atlanta this year for this game. Can't wait to see the competition this year between the solid new people and the old 2k2 UM heads like Feez.

Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui (Console)
« on: January 04, 2012, 07:58:40 AM »
Meh, sounds like you are hiding behind the neomax.

I'm not "hiding" behind it. It's simply the baseline from which my strategy proceeds.

If the opponent is dumb enough to fall for the baseline trap of "do a move to counter the fan, and NeoMAX punishes the recovery", then fine, I'll roll with it. But if I know or highly suspect the opponent is smarter than that (and the people I play against ARE getting smarter, which I'm very glad for), then I use the mild mental tension caused by that strategic understanding to my advantage and proceed with "traditional" Mai play. I am NOT passive for the sake of being passive. I know there's more to making the opponent twitch than fan spam -- it's just a whole lot easier to turn the tension of the match to your advantage when the opponent knows, at least on paper, that they can't be reckless when your bars hit a certain amount. Those few extra frames of time to think and execute make all the difference in a tense match with a character who's not especially fearsome.

I don't just sit and WAIT for NeoMAX opportunities, I use that fear to predict what my opponent will do to AVOID the trap (or in low-level situations, fail entirely to see it), and respond to THOSE actions. It's far less about actually LANDING the thing than it is about controlling the opponent's potential responses. Mai's stalling jokes ("ha ha, you got anti-aired by a paper fan") become a lot less funny when NeoMAX is the punchline.

I know under "conventional" KOF wisdom, putting Mai last sounds kind of crazy or counterproductive. But here's the thing -- it wasn't even my idea. A veteran CvS2 player (and real cheap bastard) proposed it to me at a casuals session one night. I thought he was full of shit and followed his suggestion just to prove him wrong. And a couple of Kyo OCVs (I put him first) and well-placed Mai NeoMAXes later, I ended up proving exactly his point. It finally dawned on me that this is a brand new KOF, not just 2k2UM part 2. Mai is a very different character in this game, both for bad (relative damage output, certain normals) and for good (NeoMAX). New ideas HAVE to be given a fair shot in this weird new world.

Now let's get this straight, I'm not saying Mai anchor is the greatest thing since sliced bread (she's not), or that only fools put her first these days (she's still okay 1st, just not as good as she usually is). I'm just saying it's a new and (IMO) surprisingly valid new way to look at the character for KOF 13, especially if you're like me and like the character, but haven't been getting ideal returns with her as 1st.

tl;dr: Don't knock it till you've tried it. If you've actually given it a fair try like Mastaroth has...knock away.

Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui (Console)
« on: January 03, 2012, 06:10:23 AM »
The other underlying theory behind Mai anchor, I think, is to have scary characters preceding her. Put people in front of her who do a lot of damage for no meter, preferably ones who are both difficult to attack and defend regardless of how much meter they have.

To illustrate this theory, my current team is Clark/EX Kyo/Mai. The order might seem out of whack by conventional KOF logic, but here's the method to my madness:

Clark is first because he does a LOT of damage WITH meter, but he also does a serviceable amount of damage without meter (BnB into backbreaker), and more importantly, he is also the most mentally aggravating (IMO) of my three characters to fight. He has a 1-frame punish with hcf+D to defend against sloppy jump-ins. He has stupid loop-play shenanigans with hcf+B against opponents who freeze up or poke predictably. He has easy safe-jumps, a stupid good jump jab, a good jump D, a decent reaching punish with charge b,f+A that leads to resets into MORE stupid throw shenanigans. His only significant limitation is his attack range, which IMO is another good reason to put him earlier rather than later. If he dies early, I don't have to fight a zoning anchor with him, but with Kyo and Mai who are either better equipped to get in, or in Mai's case, better equipped to stay out. He's there to get in there, mess with the opponent, get them into a Clark-fighting mode, and do as much damage as he can for no meter before he dies. He's a much better experimental character than Mai because he can be either orthodox or random as fuck. He fucks with people. Plays stupid head games. Makes them mad.

EX Kyo is second because he's more orthodox than Clark, with a lot of the same damage input and a slightly better time against zoners. He can't experiment (in the Joseph Mengele sense) as well as Clark can, so he should come in when I'm (ideally) already up a bit. He corners people easily and thus gives me a lot of tactical room to think about whether or not I need meter to kill somebody ("Do I need that mid-screen DC or super to finish him off...or will he just die from corner mixup/pressure when he wakes up?". In 90% of player matchup cases, he will probably kill a 2nd character before he dies (if he doesn't win the match for me outright), which gives him a long enough lifespan to refund most of the meter he'll spend for Mai's sake.

Mai comes last because she NEEDS that meter just to stay afloat, and because IMO she is a good counter to most CONSERVATIVE anchor play. You can still beat her most easily by rushing her down smartly (if only to make her spend her meter to get away), but you have to do so with a lot more caution if she has NeoMAX. And if you get too careful against my anchor Mai, that's my cue to go kinda nuts, throwing safely spaced Kacho Sens to force you to get the fuck in my face and stop those goddamn fans...but CAREFULLY. Because I probably have NeoMAX. You can't do anything rash, and that makes it a LOT easier to play chicken with somebody creeping up on me rather than charging at me. Anything that makes my opponent move slower is to my advantage.

This of course all hinges on whether or not Mai has meter for NeoMAX stocked when she comes in. While it's a lot harder to hold it down if she doesn't, I believe the rest of my team is equipped to either live long enough to grant her that meter, or (even better) win without her even having to play. Her success is largely contingent on how well EX Kyo and Clark do. I'm totally okay with this.

That said, I'm not married to anchor Mai. Depending on the player/matchup, I might put her 2nd and EX Kyo 3rd. But if my opponent has a team that's 2/3-3/3 fireball characters, you better believe I'm putting Mai last. Fighting Ash without that NeoMAX is fun like cancer. Every time Mai's NeoMAX blows up an EX Sonic Boom or blocked Flash Kick, an angel gets its wings.

Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui (Console)
« on: December 23, 2011, 10:14:58 PM »
Honestly, most of Mai's jumping normals aren't at their normal strength in this game. A lot of times for anti-air, I actually meet greater success using far C/close C for normal jumps and stand D for anticipated low jumps (be jump the gun on this move and your hitbox is out 5 miles in front of you...really annoying for characters who pull their vulnerable hitboxes up real high when they do early low jump attacks).

Far C is good (better than I initially gave it credit for), but you need enough breathing room to backpedal to make it work. Close C has the same kind of problem in reverse; you need to be in a situation where you can safely walk up a bit to make sure you hit with it (and don't either whiff or get an unintended far C, and lose the exchange). It depends on the character you're fighting; Shen and K` jump-ins in particular are a real pain to beat with Mai's attacks.

For air-to-air, one normal that really surprised me is her new (for XIII) j. A. Lots of horizontal range, good speed, and shittons of active frames. A really great air-to-air interrupt for situations where j. D and j. CD would miss or lose (which is unfortunately often). Her j. D in particular is really lacking in this game as an air-to-air; really poor compromise of startup and range. j. B is a little better off, but still tends to lose a lot.


As for Mai as battery...I for one re-evaluated her more as a 2nd/3rd character because of a change in philosophy. Batteries aren't just for building meter, they should also be characters who can do a decent amount of damage without meter. The idea with a battery character isn't just to run around and build meter, the idea is that if necessary you can OCV with this character.

Mai has a lot of mobility, but her already low damage is really pitiful without meter. Couple that with her difficult anti-air and poor reversal options, and she's kinda poorly equipped to KILL anyone as a battery. Stall, maybe, which will get the job done against poor/impatient players. But KILLING, against players who are strong and patient enough to get past the fans and start strangling Mai in the corner, she's kinda lacking.

By contrast, you put somebody like Kyo (either one) first and start bludgeoning people with stupid hit-confirms into running grab and corner rekka combos, you get both meter and damage to play with. If he doesn't die, he just snowballs into a stupid fiery OCV. If he dies, Mai comes in with meter that drastically changes how the opponent looks at her, especially if Kyo really put a hurting on the opponent to start.

You don't lose Mai to the first rush because she has counter roll and CD counters to get out of tight spots. And if the opponent was gonna turtle up with a zoning 2nd/3rd and Mai has enough meter for NeoMAX, all of a sudden they have to stop throwing fireballs and approach Mai VERY carefully if they don't want to lose 50% life on the spot.

This is an INCREDIBLE psychological advantage for a character like Mai that struggles so hard against constant pressure. Especially great for zoning battles, because from 3/4 screen or longer, it means many characters no longer get to do anything but walk and block against Mai fireballs. Kula or Shen (if you're quick) projectile counter against fan = NeoMAX. High jump = NeoMAX. Late roll = NeoMAX. And if the opponent's fear is great enough, you can stall almost indefinitely with rapid-fire A fans and vertical jump normals/fakeouts. Reading your opponent's tendencies suddenly becomes 10x easier, because the threat of NeoMAX controls their rational reactions.

So the tl;dr is that the way Mai is designed in THIS game, IMO she's better off 2nd or 3rd than 1st. She requires a different approach from the traditional KOF Mai if you don't want her to be just a seat filler on your team. If you just want an annoying runaway battery, Kensou and Athena are probably better for that role IMO. Athena has better anti-airs and jumping normals, and Kensou has better meterless damage and a really stupid corner trap.

Ex Kyo / Re: EX Kyo (NESTS)
« on: December 22, 2011, 11:40:58 AM »
For a stupid but blissfully simple punish combo into NeoMAX, you can bypass Mu Shiki to do stuff like:

close C, f+B xx qcf,qcf+B+C xx NeoMAX
close C, df+D (2 hits) xx qcf,qcf+B+C xx NeoMAX

Guaranteed 700 damage minimum for full Drive, 3 bars, 4 inputs and almost no conscious thought (beyond something appropriate to the situation, like "whiff whiff big whiff PUNISH"). Very worthwhile for choke artists like me IMO, who need stuff that's impossible to fuck up in the clutch.

Is there any trick to the (qcf+C, hcb+C, qcf+A) HD loop besides "do it fast"? I have about a 50% failure rate on getting the 2nd qcf+A rekka instead of a fresh qcf+C, so right now I just do the old retarded 2k2 loop of [qcf+C, qcf+A] into whatever. Doesn't seem too bad; I can get up to 783 for 3 bars now under ideal circumstances.

Archives / Re: CEO Winterfest Orlando, FL January 21st 2012
« on: December 21, 2011, 11:04:57 AM »
This event will miss the SC5 launch, but there's another Orlando event the month after with both SC5 and KOF as games. More info here:

General Discussion / Re: Tier List
« on: December 14, 2011, 10:28:34 PM »
1. At some point, it can't be "too early" for tiers anymore. The game has had a full year to mature in arcade, and while there have been shakeups for console, it shouldn't take too long for the dust to settle and context to become clearer.

2. Tier lists are not useless or meaningless. When developed properly (by people who know what they're talking about) and considered in full context (individual matchups, ideal conditions vs. practical conditions), they are a useful tool for general evaluation of how uncommon matchups or matchups between unknown players are likely to play out.

They are the starting point for figuring out a matchup. They are NOT the totality of theory or practice. Nobody except idiots operate under this presumption. No actual, intelligent player capable of high-class competition abandons all individual thought as soon as the latest tier list is posted.

3. No matter how balanced a game is, there WILL be tiers, unless the game has only one character.

The only real question is how stratified they are -- how far beneath the high-tier characters are the low-tier characters? Are they just kind of underwhelming compared to the higher tier, or are they seriously deficient in basic competitive competencies?

From all indications, this game is still in excellent shape in the console version, as the fundamental design of the game (universal subsystems + 3 characters and variable order to offset individual bad matchups) keeps lower-tier characters much closer to the power of higher-tier characters than many other games. Putting Mai on your team might be a handicap, but it's nowhere near as wince-inducing as picking, say, Dan or Hakan in SF4, simply because of the different design philosophies in the game and its characters. Victory is still a realistic possibility without a gigantic player-skill mismatch in your favor.

General Discussion / Re: Tier List
« on: December 14, 2011, 01:54:58 AM »
s. C is good on the outside, but it's uncomfortably slow at its minimum range (where you risk the very awkward transition to close C and the different timing it requires to AA; hit it early expecting a far C, and you get a too-early close C that misses its own active frames and plows right into the opponent's). Safe on block, but the low pushback means they're still uncomfortably close to Mai, and none of her advancing (walk-up to intercept), retreating (walk back/jump back), and stand-your-ground (vertical jump/stand still and bait) options seem good at that range to me. Half the time when I try for a s. C that I swear will win, I get clowned by something stupid like Shen early hop j. CD.

She has a very hard time winning trades to me where C is concerned, and the move seems like a waste pre-emptively. At that range, unless they're painfully stupid and I know they'll land on it, I'd rather do s. D or make them whiff with anti-air c. B.

s. D I have slightly fewer complaints about because of the slightly superior horizontal range. Harder to get a close D, and you don't feel so bad for not getting a bite preemptively because you outrange a lot of lows and the pushback is a bit more comfortable. It's good but not godlike. That's what I'm saying.

And mostly I'm thinking about her air normals when I say her normals are oversold. Her air normals have always been one of the biggest things she's had going for her on a fundamental level -- get a fan safely on screen and lock off air space with her fast jump and fast attacks. Her jump arc and gravity are up to the task, but most of her air normals aren't in 13. Much harder to clip limbs now unless you just don't give a fuck (a bad philosophy with a low-return character like Mai IMO) and hit a button ASAP. Waiting even a little to play hitbox games gets you creamed more often than not by people just thrashing in the air.

The only trick to beating Mai is just getting in, and her idiot-checks while zoning aren't particularly fearsome unless she has NeoMAX. Early hop attacks own Mai IMO. Just respect her fireballs getting in, put her back against the wall, and soon enough you'll be close enough to squeeze the life out of her. Take the trades, her reversals are limited and expensive, and you're still right in her face where her anti-airs are crap. One good combo and you have a great lead on her; you need to do something REALLY stupid for a low-damage character like Mai to come back on you.

Mai's bullshit is mostly useful against the inexperienced IMO. She clowns impatient players, but loses badly to people who don't throw their controllers whenever a fan hits them. She's fun and she's still one of my favorites, but she's definitely not that great.

General Discussion / Re: Tier List
« on: December 14, 2011, 01:21:27 AM »
By the time the game evolves these characters MAY be Top Tier

Yuri  :)
Mai >:(  (insane normals, crazy Neo Max I hate fanservice characters and people will use her more)

Yuri is a fairly good candidate; about the only downside to picking her (besides her voice) is her limited zoning game.

I wouldn't call Mai's normals godlike at all. Her crouch C is good, her jump B is good, and it's definitely good that she has a true c. B c. A string now to actually make it kinda meaningful to block low now. But compared to other characters AND older versions of Mai, her normals kinda suck. Most people who think they're great, I think, just haven't fought enough Mai players to learn her dead zones.

That said, her NeoMAX is legit. If anything, it's actually shifted my opinion of her from runaway battery to more of a semi-user or even anchor character. For full drive and 2-3 bars, you can take 50% life from full screen for any whiff less safe than a jab. Doesn't help her damage deficiency or bad defense, but it does something the rest of Mai is kinda poorly equipped to do -- truly scare the opponent out of hitting buttons.

I usually put her 2nd now and use Kyo for battery. Overall I think she's mid-tier at best, probably lower-mid. Not a death sentence in a game like this, but she's still an uphill battle against anyone with serious Mai experience.

Mai Shiranui / Re: Mai Shiranui (Console)
« on: December 06, 2011, 10:04:09 PM »
Re: Mastaroth's post in the old thread:

Also besides rolling passed the opponent, you can even Throw the opponent in the corner then time a jump-in and j.B either cross-up or not depending on when you jumped... This is very hard to tell and will beat wake up 1 frame throw attempts... Also if they try to roll and get away then you'll be able to recover, run up and throw them back into the corner...

Could you be a bit more specific about the timing? Like how long do you have to wait after the throw to get a crossup vs. not get a crossup? Full jump or low jump?

Also, how do you consistently set up a crossup with her midscreen? I keep swearing I've spaced for a crossup, but I always come up short (or too far forward).

And to answer milesw's question:

Sorry what do you mean by J 1 D?

Means to hold down-back (1 in numpad notation) while doing j. D.

This blocking is the key to any safe-jump setup. When timed properly, this means that you will land in time from your jump attack to block slow-startup (blockable) reversals if the opponent does one on wakeup. If the opponent doesn't reversal on wakeup, they either get hit by or have to block your j. D, and you can combo or pressure from there.

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